Dr. Bernard McDonaldStrategic Development & Evaluation Programme Lead

Contact Details:

Top Floor
Irish Centre for Social Gerontology
Institute for Lifecourse & Society
Upper Newcastle Road
NUI Galway

Phone: +353 91 495461




Bernard McDonald leads the Strategic Development and Evaluation Programme at the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG), National University of Ireland Galway on a part-time basis. Since 2015 Bernard has worked as research associate at the ICSG on a number of commissioned projects related to older adults’ civic engagement, and more recently development programmes in ageing sector organisations. He completed a PhD on age-friendly communities in 2019. He has contributed positively to a number of international research networks including the European COST Action CA15122 on ‘Reducing Old-Age Social Exclusion’ (ROSEnet – www.rosenetcost.com), and the international Network on Population Ageing and Urbanisation (INPAU). He is currently a member of the British Society of Gerontology’s Creative Ageing Special Interest Group.

Since 2010 he has also worked as an independent research and training consultant in the older adult and children’s sectors, and has conducted research and development projects for the Ageing Well Network, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs/ Centre for Effective Services, the Child Abuse Prevention Programme, Age & Opportunity, and the Active Ageing Partnership. He also worked as a consultant specialist on the Áras Attracta Swinford Review Group. Prior to his research career he worked at senior management level in the Irish public service in various roles in education, health and human rights.


Research Interests

Age-friendly communities; programme review and evaluation; civic engagement in later live; creative ageing


PhD thesis 2019 – Developing an age-friendly county programme in Fingal: Older people’s lived experiences and the WHO age-friendly conceptual framework – https://aran.library.nuigalway.ie/handle/10379/15196

2020 – Evaluation of Active Retirement Ireland’s Development Programme

Selected & Recent Publications

McDonald, B. (2012) Summary report on Ageing Well Network’s strategy consultation, Dublin: Ageing Well Network.

McDonald, B. (2013) Outcomes Based Planning: A Discussion Paper, Dublin: Ageing Well Network.

Scharf, T., McDonald B., and A.M Atkins (2016) Promoting civic engagement in later life through the Touchstone Programme: A resource and research guide, Galway: Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, NUI Galway.

McDonald, B. (2016) Review of implementation of the Touchstone Programme following the pilot phase: Progress report, Dublin: Active Ageing Partnership.

McDonald, B. and K. Walsh (2017) An assessment of the Get Engaged initiative: Contributions and impact, Dublin: Age & Opportunity.

McDonald, B., Scharf, T. and K. Walsh (2018) ‘Creating an age-friendly county in Ireland: Stakeholders’ perspectives on implementation ’, in Phillipson, C., Buffel, T. and S. Handler (eds.) Age-friendly communities: A global perspective’. Bristol: Policy Press, pp143-166.

Buffel, T., Rémillard-Boilard, S., Walsh, K., McDonald, B., Smetcoren, A-S., and L. De Donder (2020) ‘Age-friendly approaches and old-age exclusion: a cross-city analysis’, International Journal of Ageing and Later Life.   

McDonald, B. and K. Walsh (2020) Evaluation of Active Retirement Ireland’s Development Programme, Dublin: Active Retirement Ireland.